The Diocese’s sesquicentennial year opens this weekend, and the yearlong celebration that will feature a number of diocesan-wide activities and historical reflections for parishioners’ inspiration.
The theme for the year is, “For a lasting remembrance,” words inscribed on the papal bull establishing the Diocese of Harrisburg on March 3, 1868.
“The ongoing focus of the year will be to strengthen our call to the mission entrusted to us: to proclaim Christ with fidelity and love in all that we say and do,” said Bishop Ronald Gainer.
The year opens at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Harrisburg, with a tableu-style enactment of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary on March 2 at 7 p.m., and the celebration of Holy Mass by Bishop Gainer on March 3 at 10 a.m.
The year is also being marked with special pilgrimages: one to Ireland from Aug. 28-Sept. 8, and one to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3.
The history of our diocese will be commemorated through various efforts of the Office of Communications and The Catholic Witness, including updated parish histories, videos of parishioners sharing various memories of their faith life, a glimpse at historical moments, and a series by Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, on the holy men and women whose footprints have left a lasting legacy here.
Visitors to the Cardinal Keeler Center in Harrisburg will find unique displays, including Stations of the Cross (in the hallway outside of the main conference room) that hung in St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Mission Church at Safe Harbor from 1854-1897 and were blessed by St. John Neumann on Passion Sunday in 1857. The Archives’ display cases will feature a timeline of the bishops of the Diocese of Harrisburg, highlighted by several artifacts, documents and photos.
“During this year we want to thank God for the generations of faithful Catholics who have worked to build up this local Church through their witness to the Gospel,” Bishop Gainer remarked. “Their countless acts of worship, charity, teaching, and ministry to those in need over these 150 years have truly been a blessing for Central Pennsylvania.”
For the latest news, updates and information regarding the 150th anniversary, visit the diocesan website at www.hbgdiocese.org/150.